Little is known about the diversity of the chiropractic profession with respect to gender, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity and community of practice. This knowledge is important as profession representation of key equity seeking groups may impact quality of care and access for vulnerable communities. The aim of this cross-sectional survey was to explore the diversity of the chiropractic profession in Canada.
All registered members of the Canadian Chiropractic Association (
N= 7721) were invited to participate in a web-based survey between May and June 2021. Survey questions explored diversity with respect to personal demographics (age, sex, gender, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, language) and practice characteristics (community setting, practice type). Where possible, survey data was compared to data from the 2016 Census of the Canadian population. Results
We received a total of 3143 survey responses (response rate—41%). The average age of our sample was 44.7 years (standard deviation 12.7). Forty-five percent were female with the same proportion (45.2%) self-identifying as women. Ninety-one percent of the sample self-identified as heterosexual. With respect to race, 80% of respondents were Caucasian. Seventy percent of chiropractors in our sample identified with Canadian ancestry and 29% with European ancestry. In comparison to the Canadian population, some visible minorities were underrepresented. The greatest discrepancy between the Canadian population and our sample was in the proportion of Black and Indigenous chiropractors. With respect to ethnicity, chiropractors identifying themselves with Canadian ancestry were overrepresented in our sample compared to others, specifically those with North American Indigenous and South, Central and Latin American ancestry. Sixty-one percent of chiropractors practiced in major cities and most work in interdisciplinary clinics (42% Complementary and Alternative Medicine and 33% rehabilitation).
This study provides an initial description of diversity within the chiropractic profession in Canada. Women represent less than 50% of the profession nationally. Overall, there is little racial and ethnic diversity in the chiropractic profession compared to the Canadian population, with Black and Indigenous peoples being underrepresented. Future work should focus strategies to foster the development of a more diverse chiropractic workforce.